NFL Mock Draft 1/6/2010

For those of you who saw last week’s mock, I’m not the only one who made the mistake of putting two AFC teams at the bottom of the order (see CBS Sports’ mock drafts by Rob Rang and Chad Reuter). We all have our moments. The Rams have certainly had theirs…

1. St. Louis Rams Ndumakong Suh DT, Nebraska
All of the talk so far has been that the Rams will take Suh. But I have to wonder if Clausen is a better option. He’s been in a pro style offense and the Rams desperately need a franchise QB. But is Clausen a franchise QB? He had a great junior year, but for now the pick is Suh. I would think that we’ll hear Clausen’s name come up more and more as time progresses. I was listening to 101 ESPN St. Louis on my way home from work Tuesday and a listener texted in. They said they’d rather have Tim Tebow than “Jesus Christ Superstar” Jimmy Clausen. I think he or she got the names mixed up…but that’s giving the person way more credit than they deserve.

2. Detroit Lions Russell Okung OT, Oklahoma State
The Lions have a good start to their rebuilding, but they need to keep Stafford on his feet. He got injured three times and he’s too important to their franchise to become injury prone. Okung is the best tackle in this year’s draft and he’ll be able to start from day one. He wasn’t dominant in the Sugar Bowl, but he did a very good job. There’s a very good chance they’ll take Gerald McCoy instead. They still need help in so many different areas.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
The Bucs should be able to choose between safety Eric Berry and McCoy here. Either pick would help their struggling defense. McCoy isn’t too far behind Suh in terms of value. McCoy can play tackle in a 4-3 or move out to an end position for a team sporting the 3-4. He has a nonstop motor and plays just about every play.

4. Washington Redskins Jimmy Clausen QB, Notre Dame
Clausen had a great junior campaign (28 TDs, only 4 picks). He’s from a pro style offense, has a strong arm, is accurate, and played out the rest of the season with that injured foot. I’m high on Clausen and I’m trippin balls right now. The Redskins GM Bruce Allen is smart and with new coach Mike Shanahan, they could be adding Jimmy “the real JC” Clausen. New GM, new coach, and a new quarterback. Jason Campbell could still be on the team, but who knows?

5. Kansas City Chiefs Eric Berry S, Tennessee
I think Berry is the second best prospect this year, behind Suh. Bernard Pollard was a huge mistake to let go. So they make up for that mistake somewhat here. Berry could go higher, but safeties don’t have high positional value. I’ve read multiple sources stating that Berry is in the mold of Ed Reed, so that’ll obviously make him highly regarded in addition to all of his other accolades.

6. Seattle Seahawks Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
Boy, the Seahawks have a lot of options here: Bradford, Spiller, Haden, Anthony Davis…on and on, blah and blah. Whenever you have an opportunity to take one of the top quarterbacks coming out, I think you’ve gotta go for it when you have an aging QB like Hasselbeck. Seattle needs to go with best available player hands down in this draft. They have too many holes to fill.

7. Cleveland Browns Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State
There’s a chance that Mangini will be coming back to coach the Browns in 2010. Kind of like in Dumb and Dumber where the guy has a one in a million chance of getting a date…so there’s still a chance! It remains to be seen as well if they’re going to commit fully to Brady Quinn. I think Holmgren will and will get Quinn a good receiver, I don’t fully know the situation though. Bryant is just one of the many juniors who came out for this draft and is the top player at his position.

8. Oakland Raiders Taylor Mays S, USC
I’ve had Taylor Mays going to the Raiders for awhile now and I don’t like it, but it’s the most logical pick in Al Davis’ mind. Let’s wait til we get 40 times from the combine so we can see who else is at the top of his draft board. I’m still laughing about his pick from Ohio last year in the second round. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the guy is good, just not second round good.

9. Buffalo Bills Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers
The Bills need a lot. They’ll be searching for offensive and defensive linemen and a quarterback probably this coming offseason. After trading Jason Peters, the Bills were left pretty thin on their O-line. They were hit hard with injuries this year. The cure for that is to always have “jars on the shelf.” That means back-ups and practice squad linemen. Always keep enough. If you don’t, you end up with Richie Incognito.

10. Denver Broncos (from Bears) Jason Pierre-Paul DE, USF
He’s 6-6, 265, so he looks more like a linebacker. The Broncos could use a defensive end or one last linebacker. Jarvis Moss isn’t working out so taking another linebacker is looking good here. The Broncos have the controversy with Brandon Marshall going into the offseason, so who knows if he’ll still be there next season. They could go WR here if Bryant is available. Maybe Golden Tate, Damian Williams, or Brandon LaFell could raise their stock to top 15 level by the draft.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars Joe Haden CB, Florida
Haden is the best cornerback this year. He possesses all the qualities of a potential shut down corner in the NFL. Even though Derek Cox had a tremendous year and Rashean Mathis is still a great corner, adding Haden would be great since the Jaguars play the Texans and the Colts twice a year. The defense needs the most work, but I know that “Guillotine” Gene Smith will go best available player.

12. Miami Dolphins Dan Williams DT, Tennessee
Remember Robert Ayers from Tennessee last year? Dan Williams also majorly boosted his stock during his senior year. He’s not as good as Suh or McCoy, but with great workouts, he could see himself here in the first round. We’ll see if he can separate himself from Terrence Cody, Jared Odrick, and Brian Price.

13. San Francisco 49ers Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
The Niners need pass defense, but they also need another tackle to complement Joe Staley. Williams is a great run blocker, so this pick makes a lot of sense. He made the switch from right tackle to left this past season, but he improved as the season went along. If San Fran can solve their passing ineffectiveness and if Alex Smith steps up, the 49ers will be a force next season.

14. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) CJ Spiller RB, Clemson
I think this is the perfect spot for Spiller to go in the draft. Teams are less willing to take running backs so high because of their durability. Switching to two running back backfields has also helped. Spiller is just a playmaker and the Seahawks need them on offense. With him and Bradford, the Seahawks could have quite a future ahead of them. They still have plenty of other needs though.

15. New York Giants Brandon Spikes LB, Florida
Tough linebacker for a tough division. The Giants are looking like they’ll need a linebacker to replace the aging Danny Clark and the injured Antonio Pierce. So they could stand to get an infusion of talent and youth in the heart of their defense. If I were on the offense of the Eagles, Redskins, or Cowboys, I’d start wearing a visor with swimming goggles when facing Spikes.

16. Tennessee Titans Everson Griffin DE, USC
The Titans need some pieces for their defense. I think they can leave their offense to later rounds when they have The World’s Fastest Man in Chris Johnson. Defensive back, linebacker and defensive line can all be addressed here. I think the Titans could go with Griffin to aid the aging defensive line. Losing Haynesworth proved more costly than Jeff Fisher led everyone to believe. It’ll take some youth and talent to get the defense back to where he wants it.

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers) Donovan Warren CB, Michigan
The 49ers ended up very near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Nate Clements and Dre Bly are getting older. It’s time to get a good, young corner going in their defensive backfield. Warren made the right choice in coming out, because Michigan might not do so well next season.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland
Big Ben gets hit too often and we say it every year. There are plenty of good offensive linemen in this year’s first round and the Steelers would be getting a good one here. There are some injury concerns with Campbell, however. The Steelers also need a safety next to Polamalu, but there isn’t a safety good enough to go here.

19. Atlanta Falcons Sean Weatherspoon LB, Missouri
The Falcons spent 6 of their 7 draft picks last year on defense. It hasn’t helped this season, but I’m sure down the road they’ll improve. There’s still work to be done on their defense however. Sean Weatherspoon isn’t spectacular, but he is very consistent and will be a solid pick. Mike Peterson is getting older, but is still serviceable. Weatherspoon will provide a steady defender for Mike Smith and his defense.

20. Houston Texans Terrence Cody DT, Alabama
The Texans really need a running back, but this year’s class is pretty thin. Jahvid Best isn’t a good value here and I don’t think Ryan Mathews is either. I have Jared Odrick rated higher than Cody, but the Texans could be looking to get a bigger guy in there to clog up the run.

21. New York Jets Damian Williams WR, USC
Braylon Edwards can not be depended upon as a number one receiver and I think that GM Tannenbaum will go after at least one WR in the draft. He has drafted pretty well over the past few years and now has a QB to work with for a few years and build around. I think the Jets have a bright future.

22. Baltimore Ravens Brandon LaFell WR, LSU
Normally, I wouldn’t expect Ozzie Newsome to take a WR in the first round as we all have seen how Mark Clayton worked out, but it makes a whole bunch of sense now that the Ravens have a good QB again. The Ravens continually draft well and that’s why they’ve been in the playoff race just about every year.

23. Arizona Cardinals Charles Brown OT, USC
Arizona’s offensive line has been horrendous this year. If they want to be an annual playoff contender, they’ll need a better O-line. Their defensive front could also use some youth. Being in the NFC West certainly helps them win the division a lot. The former tight end has good quickness for an offensive tackle, and it only makes sense that he be on the fast paced offense of the Cards.

24. Green Bay Packers Bryan Bulaga OT, Iowa
Ted Thompson will take the best available player and it will fill a need here. It’s amazing what the Pack’s defense has done this year, considering this is their first year in the 3-4. Their real problem is on the line. Their tackles are getting older and it’s time to inject some youth. Bulaga did a very good job against Derrick Morgan in the Orange Bowl, although a few times he got pushed around.

25. Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma
Injuries decimated the Bengals this past season. Their linebackers seem to be cursed (Rey Maualuga, David Pollack, and Keith Rivers all got season ending injuries early in their careers). But what a tremendous job Mike Zimmer has done with that defense. The Bengals can count on their defense now, they just need to get their passing game going again. Not a WR, but a tight end will help out Carson Palmer hugely.

26. New England Patriots Jared Odrick DT, Penn State
Richard Seymour is gone and a hole is left, which is where Odrick could fill in. The Pats drafted Ron Brace and they could add another very good defensive lineman here. Strength on the defensive front seven is what Belichick wants and he gets it from Odrick. The Pats could go in a lot of different directions here, RB, WR, DL, LB, DB. The Pats haven’t had a great draft in awhile and they need to get back to where they used to be. They haven’t won a Super Bowl in 5 years! It’s getting pathetic!

27. Philadelphia Eagles Carlos Dunlap DE, Florida
Judging where Dunlap will go is going to be difficult. Hopefully he’ll make things more clear after his combine and private workouts. Of course, he does have his baggage (DUI, questionable work ethic). The guy is a talent though. I see him falling just like Calais Campbell and Michael Johnson in past drafts.

28. Dallas Cowboys Golden Tate WR, Notre Dame
Tate is a very gifted athlete. He could remind some people of Percy Harvin and he runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. One negative to his game however is that he needs to work on his route running. Roy Williams isn’t what they gave up for him and Miles Austin is going to need somebody to take some attention off of him.

29. Minnesota Vikings Trevard Lindley CB, Kentucky
Lindley is one of the best cover corners coming out. He’s good in both zone and in man-on-man coverage as well. Word out of Minny is that Antoine Winfield is losing some of his game and might even get moved to safety. Winfield came back from injury during this season but showed signs of slowing down.

30. Indianapolis Colts Patrick Robinson CB, Florida State
Robinson has some serious speed. He ran down West Virginia’s Noel Devine from behind to save a touchdown in the Gator Bowl. The Colts had trouble against the Jaguars passing game…need I say more? They need a lot on their defense. They still need a defensive tackle, even if they took Fili Moala last year in the second round.

31. New Orleans Saints Sergio Kindle LB, Texas
The Saints would get a speedy linebacker here in Kindle. Defense would seem to be the only need of the Saints looking forward to this offseason. A linebacker or two, secondary perhaps since Darren Sharper is getting older. There are a number of linebackers that could be taken at this pick, Jerry Hughes, great pass rusher from TCU, among others.

32. San Diego Chargers Mike Iupati OG, Idaho
Iupati is clearly the best guard in this year’s class and could prove that he deserves to be a first round pick. He would be a huge upgrade for the struggling rushing “attack” of the Chargers. The Diego ended the season at 31st in the league in rushing, which is pathetic. LT may be on the downslide, but that can’t be the only reason SD’s running game struggled so much this past season.

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